About This Site

Myself in the Chaska Herald. Front page plus a page of my photos!!!

Link to this newspaper article

Since an early age, I have had a passion for bridges. One I really remember is the Wakota Bridge, which was the first bridge of my memory. I used to pass it all the time heading to my grandma's house, and I remember calling it the "white bridge."

Unfortunately this bridge was demolished in late 2006 to make way for the new bridge. This is what is happening all over the United States. Historic bridges are being removed, mainly for no reason other than the fact that the truss design is believed to be much more susceptible to collapse.

This is NOT true! If a truss bridge is well built, it can last for well over a century. Part of this belief is from the I-35W Bridge Collapse
At 6:05 PM CST on August 1st, 2007 the Interstate 35W Bridge, one of the most busy bridges in Minnesota, collapsed into the Mississippi River. Falling 116 feet, it took hundreds of motorists and construction workers with it. Killing 13 and injuring 144, it is considered one of the most tragic bridge collapses in United States history. The cause was faulty gusset plates, which hold the riveting of the truss in place.

Not all bridges are truss, and not all are destroyed for no reason. The first bridge that got me interested in railroad history was the Carver Railroad Bridge. After a trestle collapse in 2007, the bridge was abandoned. I first visited it in 2009.

In 2011, the bridge was removed. The findings by the demolisher were horrifying. If a train had come over that bridge in 2011, the bridge would have likely completely gave out. The reason was the builder was going way too fast, and didn't use proper materials.

The point is, historic bridges get destroyed, often for no reason. And I fight for them. The Carver Main Street Bridge is a great example of what I have accomplished.
At one point, this bridge, located next to the Carver bridge was scheduled for demolition. I contacted the right people, and the city council voted to save it.
Being only 13 years old at that time, it was a great accomplishment, and future generations will be able to see it.

So what do I do? I run around the Midwest taking pictures of railroad bridges. Simple enough, right?

It's actually a little more complex than that. Yes, that is the basic concept. But along with that, I make sure I take pictures of all the details, as some day, the bridge could be gone, and photos are all that is left.
Next I will research the history of the line and bridge. I will then put the pictures to captions and a lengthy history on a page on this website for anyone to see.

How do I get to these bridges not having my drivers license? My dad drives me. It does get long and sometimes frustrating for him, but he sticks with it too.

I have dumped thousands of hours into this work, with many more coming.

One thing I love to hear is people's stories about how the bridge changed their life, or their memories of it. All the people I get to meet, whether in person or online is what makes this hobby so great!

I have taken many trips around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa with many more to come. These trips have all produced some of my favorite photos of all time.

Such trips include going to Des Moines, Iowa and Davenport, Iowa, which are some really Big trips. Eau Claire, Wisconsin was another one.

As these trips become increasingly lengthy, and more time is spent on the road, the cost escalates quickly. If you appreciate what I am doing, please consider giving a small donation towards my cause. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated to help cover the cost of gas, hotels, time and wear on my vehicle. I look forward to continuing to bring you high class photography of historically significant structures.
(Note this is not a tax-deductible donation)

In addition, I will also do complete coverage on major bridges that are being removed, and I have photographs of. This coverage includes photos of others, stories by others about the bridge, and quite a few detail photos.
The best example at the moment of a page I am planning on turning into something bigger, and covering the demolition well is the CGW Des Moines River Bridge

To sum it all up, the ultimate goal of this website is to document railroad bridges of all sizes and history so people years from now can learn about them, and understand what they meant to the area.
I hope you are enjoying this website, and I look forward to continuing this work!

Site Search Site Search

Widget is loading comments...

© Copyright 2010- John Marvig and Contributors. All Rights Reserved